The Long Haul

The Long Haul

“Reaching your destiny is not a sprint.”

“It is a long distance run, and it can take your lifetime. You’ve got to be in it for the long haul to produce what God has destined for you to bring about. If you tap into your passions and follow them with all of your heart—even when you are tired and it feels like forever—you can reach the mark God has set for you.” —T.D. Jakes, Destiny Daily Readings

It’s October. Here in California, it still looks and feels like summer to me.

Last year, I passively accepted the onset of fall in Illinois. I think people in the northern part of the United States do that—acquiescing to a force that can’t be harnessed.

I’m delighted to realize I have no need for that now. I am open to the new consistency. I realize I need to listen deeply for seasonal subtleties instead. If I really look for them, they are there. The grass is parched. Mornings and evenings have a slight chill to them, but the sun is strong and hot. A few crispy leaves tumble along the curbs.

When I think about how different people in Southern California are from the rest of the United States, I realize which quality I’ve just identified: to be cavalier about things. To be cavalier about seasons. What I mean is, here in California, no one is concerned about bringing outdoor things inside, finding umbrellas, putting special tires on vehicles, or buying new snow boots. There’s no seasonal wardrobe rotation. No one has to stop anything they’re working on to cozy up.

For the first time in a long time, I’m looking forward to starting something new in the month of November. Ha! So there it is. I am a little more cavalier about seasons now, too. I don’t see it as something negative. In fact, I have worked so diligently on the habit of judging less, that I can see the many peculiarities of personality as the simple yet colorful expressions that they are. To be cavalier is just another kind of attitude.

“The journey toward destiny is like a long distance race, and endurance is the key.”

“Working toward your destiny is a daily endeavor, but every moment won’t be filled with thrills or even challenges. Some days are just clocking hours of putting in the work. But when you know why you’re working, why you’re sacrificing, or why you’re delaying gratification, you can sustain your passion for where you are going, especially when that goal seems far away.” —T.D. Jakes, Destiny Daily Readings

Somewhere along the journey I figured out I would need to develop patience, but I realize we may practice the art of patience in different ways. While one person would get comfortable in the stillness, someone else would keep themselves busy with little projects to help the time pass less noticeably. I’m the second kind who prefers to keep doing. That is why I disciplined myself into meditating a couple of years ago. I needed to learn to be still.

I’m always changing. I’m changing myself, one thing at a time.

For example, I used to love seeing photos from my friends and reading inspirational words they shared on Facebook. I would delight in that! And I read a lot of good articles that I shared there. Unfortunately, I found out that Facebook is driven by engagement algorithms that work to keep us on the platform long enough to be advertised to while we are doing all of this delighting with others. I didn’t think that was good for any of us, so I closed down my first Facebook account. Now I have a new one I can manage.

To be honest, I felt some fulfilment and amusement from scrolling through my old Facebook feed, but really, I was just passing time—adjusting from a heavy work period to a much lighter one. I’m training myself to channel this new light and empty feeling back into my daily habits of reading and writing. Pretty soon, I will have an altogether new kind of activity to be engaged in…

“Sometimes, we feel like we don’t have anything else to give, even to Destiny.”

“It takes determination to continue in the day-to-day while keeping a healthy focus on Destiny… Take time to review your “why” and your purpose. Envision the goal and recommit to reaching it. Pray for strength, reach out to mentors who are living their destiny, take a deep breath, and keep pressing forward.” —T.D. Jakes, Destiny Daily Readings

It’s pretty rare for me to mull over thoughts of defeat. Usually, I edit those out out even if I feel insecure from time to time. It’s just my way. When I hear others talk about giving up, I think or say, “Please don’t say that out loud. If only you knew what kind of power it has over you.” So, there shall be only words of encouragement from me.

As I finish up this post, the neighborhood has come alive with all of its cavalier distractions and I realize how much I still want a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Until then, I can choose not to be annoyed. Instead, I can hit the pause button to save up some energy for tomorrow. Who knows what it will bring!